Find Out How To Get Oven Racks To Slide Easily

Have you recently found that your oven racks don’t slide as easily as before? Do you want them to glide effortlessly again as when they were new? The good news is that we know why this problem is happening, and we also have the answer to fix it. So if you want to learn how to get oven racks to slide easily, you are in the right place!

Young man cleaning oven in kitchen

Your oven is a handy kitchen appliance when it comes to roasting and baking. Unfortunately, people often forget to clean their oven, and it gradually becomes greasy. Due to that, its racks get stuck and do not slide easily. Cleaning your oven and racks the right way is the answer to your problem. But is it enough? This article will also show you how to lubricate the racks and other smart tips to address your non-sliding racks problem. Are you ready?

Why are your oven racks sticking?

You just opened your cleaned oven door, grabbed the edge of the racks from the inside of the oven to pull them, and they didn’t come out easily? Then it is reasonable to wonder why this is happening! 

1. Warped racks

One of the most common reasons for racks to stop sliding smoothly is that they become warped over time. That often occurs simply because one rack ends up getting the most use. After extended use, the weight of lasagnas and roasts may eventually start to physically bend the wires that make up the rack. You can test this by swapping the racks in the oven. If the second rack slides freely where the first did not, then it may be warped. To prevent gradual warping, you should rotate your racks regularly so they share equal usage.

2. Self-cleaning your racks

Another common mistake is leaving the racks in place when you use your oven’s self-cleaning feature. Its high temperature can cause the racks to warp slightly or bend as they cool or heat, leaving them less able to slide freely. This is why manufacturers advise taking out your new racks and washing them separately, before running the self-clean cycle.

3. Gunk build-up

Your racks can also stick because of gunk building up in the oven. Clean oven racks are safer to move freely; that’s why it is essential to keep them and the oven as clean as possible. Keep on reading to find out all you need to know to keep your oven and racks clean, but also how to make them slide smoother by whipping them with the right type of oils.

man pulling out cookies that were baked in the oven

Clean your oven

Your racks may stick because your oven walls are dirty enough to keep them from sliding freely. If you have a self-cleaning oven function, this is the simplest way to clean it. Although it takes time and can fill the house with smoke, it’s low-effort. The second option is to use a spray-on oven cleaner; one people use to clean their stovetops too. Some homeowners object to the harsh chemicals and their distinctive smell, so maybe this is not the best option for you. The good news is that there is a less-invasive option, which is using baking soda into any grime. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. In a small bowl, combine ½ cup of baking soda and 3 tablespoons of water. This way, you will make a paste roughly the consistency of pancake batter.
  2. Remove your racks from the oven.
  3. Use a rubber spatula or a gloved hand to smear the paste over the dirty parts. Make sure to avoid the heating elements.
  4. Let the paste sit for 20 minutes.
  5. When the solution stops foaming, wipe up your paste and loosened grease and dirt with wet paper towels.
  6. Wipe the interior of your oven with a wet paper towel, using only water or a 3:1 mixture of water and distilled white vinegar.

cleaning the inside of the oven wearing a cleaning glove

Clean the oven racks

Another main reason for sliding racks to stick is accumulated dirt and grease on the racks. Do you want to know the best rack cleaning hack? We have the answer below!

Clean the racks in a sink or tub

Follow these steps to make your oven racks slide easily again:

  1. Put the racks in a large kitchen sink or your tub and soak them for a few hours or overnight. 
  2. Use a commercial cleaner-degreaser product, dish soap or any dishwashing liquid or tablet as your cleanser. Add your soap and cover the racks with very hot water.
  3. After soaking, the racks should wipe clean quite easily. 

Extra tip: Line your tub with a shower curtain or an old bed sheet to prevent the rack from scratching its finish.

man cleaning kitchen oven rack in sink

Clean the racks in a heavy-duty garbage bag

The technique mentioned above works great but requires cleaning your sink or tub afterwards. The other main option is to use a heavy-duty garbage bag. Here’s what to do:

  1. Safety always comes first, so wear eye and hand protection and work in a well-ventilated area.
  2. Slide the racks into the bag and spray them thoroughly with a heavy-duty cleaner degreaser or commercial oven-cleaner spray. 
  3. You can also drench the racks thoroughly with household ammonia.
  4. Then, tie up the bag and leave the racks to sit overnight.
  5. The following day, rinse away the grunge and cleanser.

Grease the oven racks and sliders

Lubricating your racks is another way to make them slide. Prefer oven-safe oil and avoid using other cooking oils, like olive oil and coconut oil, as they may cause a discolouring or a rust-like colour residue. Here’s what to do!

  1. Remove the rack from your oven.
  2. Extend the rack fully on a table or countertop. You can place a newspaper under it for easy cleanup.
  3. It’s best to start with clean racks, so use dryer sheets and soapy water or the above method to get rid of any dirt and grime build-up.
  4. Then rub the vegetable oil on the edges of the racks that contact the wall oven tracks. Peanut oil will not smoke under normal oven heat like other oils since it has a high burning capacity. You may also use cooking oil spray as a lubricant, but keep in mind that it can smoke when your cooktop is turned on.
  5. Start with the left (front and back) slide mechanism of your rack and place 4 small drops of lubricant on the 2 bottom tracks of the slide close to the bearing carriers.
  6. Repeat for the right (back and front) slide mechanism of the rack.
  7. Open and close your rack several times to distribute the lubricant.
  8. Turn the rack over and repeat steps 5 – 7.
  9. Close your rack and turn it right-side-up
  10. Place it back in the oven, and you’re done! You are now ready to make your favourite croissants without any worries!

Happy young woman removing tray with baked croissants from the oven

How to preserve the life of your racks

Do you want to preserve your oven racks’ life and keep them working functionally for as long as possible? Then all you need to do is follow these tips!

  1. Choose stainless steel for your kitchen since it is the best material to resist bacteria growth, corrosion and rust.
  2. Never use products that can disturb the protective layer of your stainless steel rack. Avoid using sharp implements to rub or scrape the stainless surface. This includes the use of scrapers, steel wool and wire brushes.
  3. Don’t allow hard water spots and salt deposits to dry and then heated since they can break down the chromium oxide level.
  4. Avoid using cleaning products that contain chlorides, like bleach, or abrasive cleaners, as they can damage the surface.
  5. Purchase an oven-rack gripper online or from your local kitchen store. This is a hand-held tool that allows you to pull any rack out at just the right angle. This will save you from getting your racks stuck if pulled in too much of an upward direction. Another alternative is using your anti-heat kitchen gloves more and your racks movement less.

woman taking chocolate cake out of the oven, wearing red kitchen gloves
Let’s summarise! How can you make your oven racks easier to slide? First, you have to clean your oven and racks. Then, apply some lubricant to the racks and slides, and after that, put them on the oven with their positions changed. That’s all! All you need to do is follow our instructions to complete each step right and make your oven look new again!

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